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Notts County 0 v 0 Colchester United
SkyBet League Two
Saturday, 4th August 2018 Kick-off 15:00
Notts County Vs U's - Durham's Preview
Saturday, 4th Aug 2018 08:48 by Durham Exile

The fixture computer has once again been unkind towards Colchester United, as we once again start and finish with Away matches and this season we begin at Meadow Lane against Notts County on August 4th, 2018 and finish at Sincil Bank against Lincoln City on May 4th, 2019.

This will be our third season back in the basement League and we will never have a better chance of securing promotion back to League One, because there is a paucity of talented teams in the league this year.

Exeter, Lincoln, Notts County and surprise newcomers Tranmere will provide stern opposition for the Super U’s, but frankly there is not much else in the way of real threats to suggest that we cannot achieve promotion.

MFB has identified key odds for promotion for the U's as champions at a far from generous 20/1 whilst they are a meagre 9/2 to achieve any form of promotion and 15/8 to finish top 7.

So where are those 91 points coming from to win the league. In short, vastly improved home form is required to ratchet up 17 victories and at least 10 away wins are required.

Even that only provides 81 points leaving a further 10 draws and then no more than 9 defeats. A tall order perhaps for a team with mediocre form (over the last ten years) but by no means impossible. It is certainly possible though.

I think that this season we have made some impressive signings, whether permanent or on loan and although there have been anticipated departures, they have not hurt the club unduly.

Ethan Ross and Bailey Vose have arrived to strengthen the Goalkeeping division, but it should be noted that Rene Gilmartin will play some part in the matches this season.

Aaron Barnes, who was on loan at Torquay last season, plays left sided at the back or in the midfield. And if Kane Vincent-Young can be persuaded to stay he will provide very good cover at full back or midfield. These notes were penned on Tuesday afternoon and there was, at the time of going to press, no confirmation of the talented defender’s signature on a new contract. Let us hope that he does indeed line up with the team on Saturday.

Our midfield looks especially strong with Harry Pell, a target for two seasons, now finally captured from Cheltenham. Courtney Senior is emerging as a talented winger now that his injury problems are hopefully at an end. This must be the season for Sammie Szmodics to finally show what he can do if he too remains injury free.

The return of Brennan Dickenson is like a new signing and he will provide the testing crosses for defences, whilst offering a goal threat. Ryan Gondoh looks also to have the ability to drive forward from the centre of the park.

It is the forward line though where we have much promise on show. Mika Mandron stayed with the club, which I am delighted about because he will only get better as a striker. Ably supported by Wolves loanee Aaron Collins and new signings Luke Norris from Swindon and Frank Nouble from Newport. Such is the forward strength at JM’s disposal that Junior Ogedi-Uzokwe has been loaned out at Bromley until January.

We still remain a youthful side which is important in this league, but there is experience too to bolster the team. None more so than Luke Prosser and Tom Eastman who were so effective last season.

This weekend sees the difficult trip to Meadow Lane for a stern examination at the hands of Kevin Nolan’s Notts County, who will once again be favourites for promotion. They are one of our bogey teams and if we are to achieve promotion, then three points at Nottingham on Saturday will send out all the right signals of intent to the other promotion candidates.

Notts County have also spent big and brought in some new players, Kane Hemmings, Kristian Dennis and Enzio Boldewijn will all offer goals threats with home grown Lewis Alessandra to support them. Whilst evergreen Jon Stead at only 35 has mustered 146 goals in 599 appearances in his career.

They have lost captain Michael O’Connor who is a big loss to them, but experienced David Vaughan has made the short journey from Nottingham Forest to attempt to replace him. Former U’s favourite Elliott Hewitt is still in their line-up.

We were very unlucky to lose there last season and they celebrated at the final whistle as though they had already been promoted, strangely enough just as Lincoln City did when we narrowly lost at Sincil Bank. Time for some revenge then on Saturday.

Now although I hold little sway in pre-season games results, we have nevertheless enjoyed an excellent set of results, notably against Millwall and Gillingham, both of which resulted in deserved victories.

JM has been playing two upfront with a winger to provide pace. Can he please note that a similar bold and inventive formation is required at Meadow Lane? Attack from the start and take the game to them in what is likely to be a hot East Midlands day in front of a decent crowd and we stand a real chance of securing victory.

Formation looks to be 4,3,3 rather than 3,5,2 and I have been undecided on which starting XI might be employed.

After some thought I am going with:

Barnes

Eastman Prosser Kent Vincent-Young

Lapslie Pell Dickenson

Collins Mandron Szmodics

Subs:

Gilmartin Jackson Senior Gondoh Comley Nouble Norris

Such a team offers a blend of experience with the enthusiasm of youth, plus pace, power and height plus genuine wing play.

I believe that this current squad can provide the quality of performances plus the required results to obtain promotion this season.

Safe journey to the travelling faithful.

Prediction: 3-1 to Colchester.

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